Thanos kills a whole load of people in Avengers: Infinity War, but he saves most of these deaths for one grand gesture at the end of the movie, raising the question of why he largely refrains from taking lives along the way. After all, a guy who wants to wipe out half the universe is hardly going to have a crisis of conscience over killing the heroes who are trying to stop him.
In the new artbook Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War – The Art of the Movie, Marvel Studios Head of Visual Development Ryan Meinerding offers his answer to this question, making the case that the Mad Titan doesn’t kill his enemies because he quite simply doesn’t need to.
“The plan of getting all the Infinity Stones is putting [Thanos] in the position of being so powerful that he is sort of calmer, more single-minded, and more reasonable. He is not necessarily worried about killing the heroes. As long as he ends up with the stones, he can accomplish what he wants to.”
Meinerding’s explanation is similar to the one offered earlier this year by Infinity War co-director Joe Russo, who observed how the villain “doesn’t spend a lot of energy intentionally trying to murder people, unless they’re in some way a threat to his agenda.”
Sure enough, despite murdering a staggering number of people in the movie, Thanos rarely does so in anger, but rather in service of his twisted ideology. In fact, one of the few characters he kills pre-climax is someone he evidently loves, his adopted daughter Gamora, and again, it’s all for the sake of the mission.
In short, being killed by Thanos is not to be taken personally, but after the events of Avengers: Infinity War, it’s clear that pretty much the whole universe will now have a grudge against the tyrant. We’ll see how the Mad Titan deals with the backlash when Avengers 4 hits theaters on May 3rd, 2019.